Knit Lace: A Far-Flung Inspiration

African Violet knit lace shawl from New Heights in Lace Knitting

The gorgeous African Violet Cape from New Heights in Lace Knitting

Not many of you probably know that my job before Knitting Daily was as the production director for The Mountaineers Books, an outdoor activity and conservation publisher in Seattle. I was there for nine years, and during that time I met many a hiker, climber, biker, and wildlife photographer. It was wonderful, and I was exposed to so many different parts of the world, conservation efforts, and amazing people.

As I started to get more into knitting, my attentions shifted to that world, and I ended up at Knitting Daily. I still love being in the the outdoors, of course, and camping by the many lakes in the Spokane region is one of my favorite summer activities. And, of course, my knitting comes along with me! It’s my constant companion.

Author and designer Andrea Jurgrau is much more hardcore than I; she brings her knitting on big hiking trips all over the world! And she takes lace knitting. I know.

You won’t believe the gorgeous designs that her outdoor adventures have inspired. Her book, New Heights in Lace Knitting is truly exciting, and full of beautiful knit lace designs. I think my favorite is the African Violet Shawl, shown above. It reminds me of my time working on a book about climbing and trekking in the Kilimanjaro area of East Africa. What an amazing place; the plant and animal life there is just incredible. Andrea captured the colors of this area perfectly in the African Violet Shawl—many of the sunset photos I saw while working on this book include that beautiful violet cast, and of course the browns, greens, and yellows represent much of the African landscape.

I invited Andrea to be my guest today to tell you about New Heights In Lace Knitting, and what inspired her to write it. Here she is:

Taking Knit Lace to New Heights

New Heights in Lace Knitting began as a concept when I traveled to Colorado last year. Driving along with the Rocky Mountains in the distance was so inspiring. I started thinking about all the various mountains I have climbed, or hope to climb one day, and what I might take with me to knit on each hiking trip. I am never without lace knitting and often knit my travel memories into my projects. Years later I can pull a lace shawl out and remember everything! What backpack I carried, who I was with, how amazing the stars were, how much I loved or hated my boots  . . .

I am a concept designer, and once I am grabbed by a concept the designs take on a life of their own. Here are some of the projects in New Heights.

Lace knit patterns from New Heights in Lace Knitting

Clockwise from left: Denali Stole, Oceania Shawl or Throw, Corcovado Mitts, Prayer Flag Scarf, Franconia Traverse Wrap

By the time I was finishing the proposal for this book I had many more knit lace designs ready than we had room for. So I got to choose my favorites, with a variety of techniques, shapes, and complexity.

When I knit I am a process knitter. By this I mean that I knit for the process, which I really love. The product is always secondary to the process for me. I enjoy fooling around with new stitch patterns, shapes, and bind-offs to make sure I am never bored.

Lace knitter Andrea Jurgrau Hiking in the Dolomites

Andrea Jurgrau, hiking with her family in the Dolomites

I hope lace knitters who look through this book feel my excitement and enjoy that process, should one of the summits call out to be cast-on!

—Andrea Jurgrau, Author, New Heights in Lace Knitting (a.k.a. The Hiking Knitter!)

I just gave Andrea the name “The Hiking Knitter,” but don’t you think it suits her? Just look at her over there at left, hiking in the Dolomites in Italy. What an adventurer!

And when you think about it, lace knitting is adventurous, too. You start out with a ball of yarn and needles, knit a piece that’s full of holes and decreases, which you only really get to see when it’s blocked out. That’s the spirit of knitting adventure, right there!

I had such a wonderful time traveling down memory lane as I looked through Andrea’s book. The Prayer Flag scarf really touched me. I have such fond memories of working on all sorts of books about hiking, trekking, and climbing in the Himalayan region. Its people and culture are fascinating, and Andrea’s knit lace representation of the prayer flag tradition is just perfect.

I invite you to join the journey, and get New Heights in Lace Knitting today!



P.S. Have you taken your knitting on outdoor adventures? Leave a comment below and tell me about it!

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